GREENSBORO (April 10, 2018) – North Carolina A&T men’s tennis is set to go on the road to face rival North Carolina Central 10 a.m. Saturday at the Dr. James W. Younge Tennis Courts.
This will, however, be more than just a rivalry game. The outcome will determine which team earns a berth into the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Tennis Tournament, April 26-28 in Norfolk, Va.
"We've played an extremely tough schedule and we have done that for a reason," said N.C. A&T coach William Crutchfield. "The top teams, the ACC schools get you mentally prepared because that's what the game is about, mental toughness. We think at this point, we have our men mentally ready to face the challenge we have on Saturday."
The Aggies are 1-2 against the Eagles since the men's tennis program was reinstated for the 2015 season. Crutchfield said in the sport of tennis it is probably not a good idea to approach their match against NCCU with the same emotion that normally comes along with a varsity sport from N.C. A&T playing a varsity sport from NCCU.
"It is not going to help you much. In fact, it might be a negative against you," Crutchfield said. "You can be all jacked up to return your shot but if you don't use the proper technique, you're still going to hit the ball into the net."
A win over the Eagles will be the Aggies first since a 4-3 win on March 3, 2016. The good news for the Aggies, the visiting team has won the last three matchups. Freshman Jorge Goenaga leads the team in singles wins with three. Adair Bartra, Hayden Faulkenbury, Dreshaun Jarmon and John Wilson IV all have one win apiece. In doubles, Nicolas Arduh and Bartra have teamed to secure two wins while Goenaga and Jarmon have also won twice.
Crutchfield is hoping to have Arduh medically cleared in time for the contest against NCCU. He was sidelined earlier this season after an injury. The last time Arduh competed was on Feb. 24 against Winthrop.